Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
That’s a thought that has crossed my mind more than just a time or two lately.
All the school shootings. Gun law arguments. Threats that are leaving parents afraid to send their kids to school. This person has cancer. That family is going through divorce. Sin has blazed its destructive path everywhere you look.
And on a much more personal scale, I’ve had some pretty difficult days the last month or two. Tough ones. The pain of losing a child is unlike any other that I have experienced, and I’m convinced it will not be matched by anything I may have yet to experience in my lifetime. The reality of the loss is always there, and there isn’t a day that goes by when he’s not thought about.
I’ve come to refer to Collier quite often as my missing piece, because well, that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s like putting a puzzle together only to get almost completely finished and realize you’re missing one piece. The whole picture is there, but without the last piece it’s just not the same.
Yes, the Lord has been completely faithful and nothing but good to me. He has carried me and strengthened me in ways that can only be credited to Him. He is piecing my heart back together bit by bit every day and restoring joy within me. Without Him, I would be a total mess. I am grateful for every single thing He has done in me. But, I am still painfully aware that our family is incomplete and will be that way until everything is made new and right when Christ returns.
So why, Lord, are we still here? Why does He linger? Why, with all of the pain and suffering everywhere, has He not yet fulfilled His promise to return?
Because of what His Word says:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (1 Peter 3:9)
This verse is the answer. He lingers because He’s being patient with you. He doesn’t want to be a part of your life. He wants to be your life. And so He waits for you to make that change and surrender all of you, not part of you.
He waits for your family member. The one who you’ve prayed for over and over and over and over. The one who seems to drift farther away instead of closer to God. He waits because He wants that one who is dear to you to experience real life. He waits because He hears your prayers for them, and He is being patient to answer them.
He waits for your coworker. The one who works beside you everyday and whom you know has zero interest in anything “religious.” After all, churches are full of hypocrites, right? So why would she want anything to do with that? He waits for her to come to true repentance, and He waits for you to tell her how to have it instead of keeping quiet out of fear of rejection.
He waits for the one who is searching every wrong place for purpose. He knows he’s searching, and Who he’s really searching for. And so He waits.
He waits for all the ones who have been hurt by life’s circumstances. It’s those very circumstances that He knows will lead straight to the cross if they’ll follow Him there.
He waits for the trouble-maker kids. He waits for those who are “too far gone.” He waits for criminals, murderers, politicians, atheists, adulterers, liars, and school shooters. He waits for all those who have been written off by society. Because He loves them and Has a plan for them, too.
He waits for everyone who has not yet come to repentance, and everyone means every one (even though there are those who never will).
When I stop and remind myself to think this way, it makes the waiting a little more bearable, the painful days easier to persevere, and my perspective to be more eternity-focused. It helps me live differently.
There’s work still to do. God is still drawing hearts to Him. He’s still transforming us more into His likeness through our trials and suffering. And there are so very many people who still need the good news of the gospel. I love the way Kathie Lee Gifford expressed the urgency to share after the passing of Billy Graham. “If you had the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you tell everyone you know? There is a malignancy of the soul, and we have the cure. His name is Jesus.” (paraphrased)
So, come quickly Lord Jesus, but keep lingering, too. And help me not to grow weary, but to keep living with eternity in mind.